Three-hour outage renders Nest-equipped smart homes very dumb

Poor users left manually fiddling with thermostats, fumbling locks

Google's Nest went TITSUP* early this morning, causing headaches for users who have equipped their home with the expensive smart devices.

Owners of the kit were forced to manually adjust thermostats and unlock doors while the iOS, Android and web apps were inaccessible. The horror.

Nest's support orifice on Twitter confirmed there was an issue at 0430 BST after users reported being unable to operate alarms or locks via the app. It was a long three hours before the company confirmed that things were back up and running.

The outage affected multiple countries – users in the US, Canada and the Netherlands all reported problems.

Frustrated fans vented their spleen on social media, complaining the entire Nest app was down, resulting in other devices such as thermostats and cameras being inaccessible.

One wag on Reddit posted "QUICK ROB ALL THE THINGS" while another user on Twitter was more plaintive: "Everything is down. Can't watch my child fall asleep. Fix. This. Now."

The Register took a good, hard look at Nest's wares back in April and came away impressed, although with some concerns. A total failure of the Nest app can now be added to that list of worries.

The incident is a salutary reminder to consumers to exercise caution when going all-in on a particular ecosystem and highlights the fragility of the Internet of Things concept in general when things go wrong. In this instance users were able to fall back on the manual methods of unlocking doors, which they probably thought they had left behind in the brave new connected world.

El Reg has contacted Nest for an explanation for the outage, and will update with any response. ®

* Toasted Infrastructure Totally Stops Unlocking Properties

Similar topics

Other stories you might like

  • What if ransomware evolved to hit IoT in the enterprise?
    Proof-of-concept lab work demos potential future threat

    Forescout researchers have demonstrated how ransomware could spread through an enterprise from vulnerable Internet-of-Things gear.

    The security firm's Vedere Labs team said it developed a proof-of-concept strain of this type of next-generation malware, which they called R4IoT. After gaining initial access via IoT devices, the malware moves laterally through the IT network, deploying ransomware and cryptocurrency miners while also exfiltrating data, before taking advantage of operational technology (OT) systems to potentially physically disrupt critical business operations, such as pipelines or manufacturing equipment.

    In other words: a complete albeit theoretical corporate nightmare.

    Continue reading
  • DeadBolt ransomware takes another shot at QNAP storage
    Keep boxes updated and protected to avoid a NAS-ty shock

    QNAP is warning users about another wave of DeadBolt ransomware attacks against its network-attached storage (NAS) devices – and urged customers to update their devices' QTS or QuTS hero operating systems to the latest versions.

    The latest outbreak – detailed in a Friday advisory – is at least the fourth campaign by the DeadBolt gang against the vendor's users this year. According to QNAP officials, this particular run is encrypting files on NAS devices running outdated versions of Linux-based QTS 4.x, which presumably have some sort of exploitable weakness.

    The previous attacks occurred in January, March, and May.

    Continue reading
  • Ubuntu releases Core 22: Its IoT and edge distro
    A tougher nut to crack than the regular flavor, some will find it very tasty

    Canonical's Linux distro for edge devices and the Internet of Things, Ubuntu Core 22, is out.

    This is the fourth release of Ubuntu Core, and as you might guess from the version number, it's based on the current Long Term Support release of Ubuntu, version 22.04.

    Ubuntu Core is quite a different product from normal Ubuntu, even the text-only Ubuntu Server. Core has no conventional package manager, just Snap, and the OS itself is built from Snap packages. Snap installations and updates are transactional: this means that either they succeed completely, or the OS automatically rolls them back, leaving no trace except an entry in a log file.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022